Gongadze Murder: Withdrawal of charges against Kuchma upheld
On 26 June the High Specialized Court for Civil and Criminal Cases rejected the cassation appeal against the withdrawal of criminal charges against former President Kuchma in connection with Georgy Gongadze’s murder. The Kyiv Court of Appeal on 20 January this year upheld the decision of the Pechersky District Court which on 14 December terminated the case.
The fate of the cassation appeal was announced by Valentina Telychenko who is representing Myroslava Gongadze, the murdered journalist’s widow.
Ms Telychenko said that the varied application of norms by the High Specialized Court in examining this case give grounds for approaching the Supreme Court.
She said that domestic remedies had been exhausted in a particularly flagrant manner and that Myroslava Gongadze might again apply to the European Court of Human Rights. She pointed out that back in 2006 the European Court of Human Rights had ordered Ukraine to carry out an investigation and establish the identity of those who ordered the journalist’s murder.
After much was made of the apparent intention to prosecute Kuchma over Gongadze’s murder, the Constitutional Court stepped in.
All court instances in Ukraine have now found that the only grounds for the decision by First Deputy Prosecutor General Rinat Kuzmin to initiate criminal proceedings were the tapes made by Mykola Melnychenko. It cited the Constitutional Court judgement from October 2011which stated that prosecutions could not be based on information received through investigative operations carried out by people unauthorized to do so. Major Melnychenko acted on his own initiative when he illicitly taped conversations between Kuchma and others.
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